The Hostess Years

I was born on February 21, 1967 in Santa Clara, California to John and Sylvia Szeker. We lived in Los Gatos, California. My three older sisters loved me at once, of course. How could you not love a baby? They didn't know me yet! Anyway, their names from oldest to youngest are Margie, Kim, and Karen. Its kind of funny, Margie and I both have blonde hair and our names start with the letter 'M'...duh...but Kim and Karen have brown hair and gee, what do their names start with? I know, I know...it looks like I have black hair and I did when I was born. Somehow it all grew in blonde.

All us girls, my poor dad...but he's okay now, we've all moved out. The teenage years were the trials anyway. Here we are all dressed up for Christmas pictures, looking all cute in our net stockings and mini-dresses...I'm the little stinker in the black velvet dress. Don't we look fine? But we really aren't all that prim and proper. Do you notice Karen...the pixie with the red stockings. Why does she smile so sweetly? Look at her left shoulder (your right)...do you see that white thing on it? Yeah, that thing with a pink tail? Yes, it is a rat...or a mouse, I can't remember which. Anyway, if you look at the picture to the left, what do you think happened between flashbulbs? Hmm, let's see...Margie looks like a little innocent smiling princess, Kim looks bored, I have either just picked my nose or my hand smells really good...and I've come up missing a leg somewhere. But Karen...she seems to have lost something else all together. I don't think she wanted Mom and Dad to know about the mouse...sure hope she found it before Mom did because, boy oh boy, my Mom has quite a set of lungs on her.

Trip to the Redwood Forest in Santa Cruz, California

Now, if you are a fan of my book already, you'd know all about the redwood trees that can grow somewheres to 350 feet tall. I wasn't kidding about that. Meet my muse for the Hamadryad, Sequoia Sempervirens. That is a real tree. I still remember visiting the Redwood National Forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We are standing inside of it...do you suppose it has just ripped itself open to expose a tunnel to the underground realm of the F.A.I.R.I.E.S.? Would have been fun. Anyway, this tree stuck in my memory since I was 3 years old. I'm the tiny-tot there in the center of the picture. Did you know there used to be a tree with an opening so large that they paved a road under it? I'm told that it fell down since I last visited it. Too bad. It was a really cool tree. We had many adventures in Santa Cruz. One of which was camping. My dad and another family's dad decided it would be funny to tell us a scary Bigfoot story by the campfire one night. After we all went to bed, they pounded the ground and scraped at the tents pretending to be Bigfoot. Yeah, men never do grow up! We were scared out of our wits~the big goofs! Thus, when you enter the world of the fairies, you will encounter Bigfoot or Yeti, as they are commonly known around the world.

Elementary School

The first year of school...awe, excitement, and disappointment. The following is lovingly referred to as.......


Do you remember your first day of school? The nevous anticipation of the wonders and vast store of knowledge that you were about to become a part of? I wore my blue dress with big white diasies and carried my tin Pinocchio lunch box to Howes Elementary School. I really wanted to walk to school like a big kid...all my sisters got to walk to school. Mom had other ideas. We pulled up in the large brown Buick and I was so excited that I could hardly open the door. Will everyone like me? Will I meet the prince of my dreams? Will I step out, trip over the curb, fall flat on my face in front of my entire class and have my lunch box crash open and the contents spill on the ground as I watch my Ding-Dong roll into the parkinglot, my mom wave and drive off over my charished dessert? No to all but the last question. Man, I really loved Ding-Dongs (and still do--they used to be individually wrapped in foil; I miss that). Needless to say, my first experience of school was met with embarassment, disappointment, and cruelty to Hostess. It could only get better.


Margie is the oldest. While we were growing up she was always getting into trouble and while Margie was in the hot seat, the rest of us could do pretty much whatever we wanted--since Mom and Dad's attention was centered on what consequences she had earned. Many a time Margie got away Scott-free, so I really don't feel too badly about the Ho-Ho's

The set up of our house let us kids have a good amount of privacy and the most amount of privacy was in the garage. My parents put a large carpet remnant on the middle of the cement floor and some old couches and chairs were placed in there. We had an old 45's record player and dozens of old mini-records in a box. There was also a freezer in the garage. Every Wednesday Mom would go shopping at the Hostess Outlet and stock up on Ding-Dongs, Ho-Ho's, Twinkees, cupcakes, various little pies, oh yeah--and bread. They were stored in the freezer. What would you do if you were chillin' in the garage playing the Partridge Family album and you were hungry...but dinner was not yet ready?

Remember, Margie hardly ever stayed home unless she was grounded...she usually hung out with whatever boyfriend she had that week (sorry Margie, I love you--but you know it is true! : P ) Kim liked to watch Marcus Welby M.D. so on almost every given weeknight it would be me and Karen lip-sincing to David Cassidy's 'You Can Hear My Heartbeat...' One night we were most hungry and a Ho-Ho's box called out our names. We ate not one, not two, but the entire box--and got away with it! A whole week went by and no one had noticed...or so we thought. The little garbage can had not yet been emptied. One night we heard the usual screams and thought that Margie had been caught again...then we started hearing words like "wrappers", "a whole box!", "Hostess thief!"...Karen and I just stared innocently as we came to dinner. Margie was mad. She got away with sneaking out the night before but was grounded for a week for something she didn't do. Mom and Dad decided to be fair and ask all of us to tell if they knew who ate the Ho-Ho's. Kim looked confused, Karen looked at me, I looked at Karen...we all looked at the outraged Margie...together Karen and I said, "Margie did it." And that was that.

BESIDES HOSTESS, Baseball--uh, I mean girl's softball-- ruled my elementary universe...

Ah, the good old days. Bobby Sox, or more commonly known as softball. 1976, I was 9 years old and full of spit and fire...too bad that fire never met the ball with the bat. Karen was blessed with the baseball gene. I did get better, especially when my all-star sister wasn't on the same team. Boy, she was good...and still is. (While I've gotten fat and lazy she is an aerobics instructor and on an adult softball team!) She could hit that ball over center-field's head! I should know, during practice it was my head she would almost take off. Yep, I was an outfielder...most of the young ones are and I was the youngest on the team that year...but as I said, I did get better. Dad was our coach and we won the league championship that year. I never won it again, but, hey...I still had fun.

The Good Samaritan

Have you ever had an experience with a Good Samaritan? Maybe an angel in disguise?

I did.

It was 1976; I was nine years old. The family had just pulled up to our camping spot at Trinity National Park in California. Funny how a name could mean something more now than it did then...Not until this moment did I realize that I had written 'Trinity' without meaning the Godhead. Hmmm...Something to ponder. Anyway, my parents started setting up camp and I really wanted to go on a bike ride. None of my sisters wanted to take me and my parents would not allow me to go alone. Thinking back, this was a good thing. At the time it seemed utterly unfair.

Margie made a deal with me. If I would brush her hair for half an hour then she would take me for a ride. I know that seems a bit mean but really, she didn't want to go and I liked making funny hair-dos in her hair.

Although I was not allowed to go 'alone', my parents did think I was old enough for a three speed bike. It was huge. I looked like one of the seven dwarves (Dopey) trying to balance on the thing. This was before helmets and pads for the kids...I was so stupid that I actually wore my leather Mexican flip-flops instead of sensible tennis shoes (sneakers...Running shoes or whatever you say for those things.) The ride started off great. Fresh mountain air, insects buzzing about, and birds tweeting merrily in the pine trees.

We didn't figure on the gravel or the steepness of the road.

Talk about head over heals! I flipped over the handle bars when I errantly hit a large piece of gravel. Gravel and face don't mix. Neither do teeth and rocks. I smashed my head into the dirty rocky mix and slid a few feet. I don't remember much after that...I blurrily recall Margie screaming for help. Next thing I knew, an old man was carrying me. My face, shirt and feet covered in blood. I had one sandal on. The other one must have stayed with my teeth on the pavement. The man's wife helped Margie and our bikes back to the campsite.

I never found out the names of the couple but will always remember their kindness.

My face was a mess. I lost three permanent teeth on my bottom row and had somehow created a mouse-hole shape in my two front teeth. The teeth had exited my mouth through my upper lip which was dangling open. Sorry, I know. It wasn't a pretty picture.

The nearest hospital/doctor was an hour away. My sisters and mom tore down camp as my dad tried to wash me off and stop the bleeding.

I ended up with a bunch of stitches, some false teeth (they were my permanent ones that I lost), and a good patch up job on the mouse-hole. For a long time I kept my torn and bloody sandal; the only souvenir I had from the trip that wasn't attached or lost from my body.

I thank God that Margie was there.

I also have some hugs for those two souls that helped me when I was in need.

1977 was great...

I had my best friend, Carolyn, on the team that year. My good friend and neighbor, Connie, also played. Carolyn's mom and my mom were coaches; Dad moved up with Karen and Kim played on that team too. I also was a bit more coordinated and started playing catcher.

1978 brought many changes.

I enjoyed the summer of softball playing both catcher and pitcher. When school began, my mom got a job as a teacher at Saint Mary's Catholic School in Gilroy, California. Ah, Gilroy...the garlic capitol of the world. Every year they throw a Garlic Festival. The town actually smells delicious. I decided that it would be 'neat' to attend the school my mother taught at, so for the beginning of my sixth grade, I went to Catholic school. Wearing a blue plaid mini-skirt with a white dress shirt and a button-up blue sweater for a uniform really wasn't so bad. After all, I didn't have to worry about looking cool...we all looked like dorks.

For some inane reason, I decided to go out for cheerleader.

Only one sixth grader was allowed on the squad. (The school was K-Ninth grade.) Try-outs were in the gym in front of the entire school. I don't know what made me do it. I'm a shy person by nature. Perhaps the fact that Karen was a cheerleader at her Junior-High School? Whatever the motive, I found myself on stage doing some bizarre cheers like "Big 'G' little 'O', Go, Go!" but I had the talent that gets many girls the coveted position of cheerleader...I could do the splits. With my legs sticking in opposite directions and my hands up in a victory stance, the crowd cheered and I became the eighth cheerleader. Oops, did I forget to mention that they had to have a sixth grader and I was the only girl brave (or stupid) enough to try-out? Minor detail. Also, I should mention that I knew nothing about cheerleading...if I had known that I was required to watch and know the sport of basketball, I never would have volunteered. I have nothing against basketball, mind you, but I had no clue about the game. I was supposed to know when to cheer for our team and when to encourage them. More than once I was foolish enough to shout and yell happily as the other team scored. Oh well, I tried.

Sister Mary Something

(Name Changed to Protect the Guilty)

We were in prison. Before the end of the first semester my mom had grown quite unhappy with the school's principal, Sister Mary Something. Sister Mary Something was a very 'un-nice' person and seemed to have it in for Mom. For those not experienced with the Catholic religion: not all nuns are good. I'm not saying she was like Voldermort or anything, but she was a hatchet faced woman with the personality of a snake. My mom may not be the easiest person to get along with but she is a great teacher (retired now, teaching Sunday school). My mom also used to be a really good Catholic. It seemed a sin that we should not revere this 'Bride of Jesus' but I think we both really had trouble not imagining her as anything but the Wicked Witch of the West. Needless to say, Mom quit her job and that meant I must also quit the school...she was my ride. My last day of school there was a hoot. I never leaned toward the naughty side; but that day, I earned some coals in my stocking. Before P.E. all the sixth grade girls had to have a special lecture from Sister Mary Something. Somehow I had come across some illegal bubble gum and decided, 'What the hay! What are they going to do? Expell me?' So, I chewed and snapped and blew huge bubbles in total disregard of 'the Hatchet's' glares. I'm not sure if I scared her or the prospect of having to talk to my mother ever again made her think twice, but for once, she made no attempt to remove my pleasure. My best friend at the time, Angelina (pictured right) felt I was working up a stay in purgatory. At the end of the day, Angelina and I were waiting for Mom to collect all her classroom stuff and we were hanging out at the playground. We saw Sister Mary Something come across the yard, catch a glimpse of me, and make an about face. I don't know why I did it, but I flipped her off. Shocked, Angelina told me I was going to hell for sure. But she stayed my friend. Bless her.

So, no more cheerleader...*NOTE* I did not shed any tears about it. Also, our family had moved during this time to San Jose. More specifically, the Almaden Valley. Now, see? I am officially a Valley Girl. Yes, I even began speaking the valleyspeak. Like, I'm so sure, like, you don't know about the val-ley? Oh my God...that is like so bogus. Totally and most non-triumphantly heinous.

Thus ended my sixth grade: in the midst of blonde vs. blonder and surfer vs.

I'm like totally sure, dude.


Glory said...

Thanks for your visit to my blog. It seems that, unlike me, you actually DO have characters in your head, just waiting to be written! Good luck with that!

Bonnie Calhoun said...

ROFL....That's great...no wonder you are like you are? Now that Margie has it in print, who the real theif was.....You are gonna' git' it!!!!(sang very sing-songy)

Godd job....funny...I kept hearing the music from the Wonder Years!

TC said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog. It was nice to get to know you through your post today.

Marianne, after reading your comment it was your turn to bring me to tears. It does my heart good to know that the things I write touch other people the way they touch me. Thank you.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Come on....where's the rest of the story...get the lead out. :-)

STAG said...

Ahhh...the "Archie and Betty" summers.

I wish I could remember those years. Perhaps someday I shall sit down and sort all those memories out.

You have a nice writing style.

MaY said...

(LOL) I enjoyed reading your blog. How "wicked" you are..in a nice sort of way. Funny how we usually pull pranks on our own siblings..I used to do that myself. (lol) Ahhh..memories. You helped me remember my good old memories. I was truely animated..keep on writing!

TC said...

M.C. thanks! I love it that we could be twins separated at birth. Nice to know I am not the only one out there with my twisted sense of humor. You made my day!

"Ruby" said...

Cute blog! Thanks for visiting mine! You can find my writings under my profile (I think) at Faithwriters.

I'm in process of posting and ebook of my skits for the pirate puppets. Of course I'm only posting the rough drafts - I may try to publish the finished ones into a book.

I like how your blog is like an online scrapbook. Very fun! Hope you are enjoying your time at Faithwriters!

Jennifer said...

I literally have tears rolling down my face from laughter! You are SUCH a good sport to share these photos and the stories that go with them. I mean, my daughter told me to knock it off I was laughing so hard she couldn't hear the TV! You bring back SO MANY memories!!!! I'm from the 70s myself. Thank you for such a great trip down memory lane.

Oceanus said...

Hi...It was so wonderful memories that i've read. I'm from Malaysia and did not have any photo to put in here. Well, nice writing style.. hope you'll always look happy and enjoy continuing your life...

M. C. Pearson said...

Oh gosh! Thanks to everyone who has commented! I'm working on the next section and plan to pre-date them so it will all appear chronologically in order. You have all made my entire week!!!


Nettie said...

But did Pinocchio at least survive intact?

M. C. Pearson said...

Banged up but held out for a few years! Replaced later but never forgotten. ;)

Running2Ks said...

I love that you became a Valley Girl after dealing with Voldy nun. Too hilarious. I don't think that was a sin at all ;)

M. C. Pearson said...

running2ks~ Yeah, I think the sin was staying at that school so long...even though it was only six months!

An Ordinary Christian said...

Ding Dongs don't come individually wrapped any longer? Oh my. I loved Hostess. Still do. I hardly ever had the opportunity to partake though. Also, always had hot lunch - wanted cold though. If only the whole world had such "problems!" How lucky I was in reality.

M. C. Pearson said...

An Ordinary Christian~ They are still individually wrapped but it is in white plastic and they are like half as big as they used to be! Grrrrrrrr!

An Ordinary Christian said...

Hi again. I read some more of your blog, but wound up back here again. Gilroy does have a famous Garlic festival I hope to attend someday. Oh, I loved that you knew that Keith Green song..."don't pretend the job's done..." I don't even know its title. I got the words wrong though. Its not "Dance with me," but "Come away with me." That does sound nice though, to go away with Him.

M. C. Pearson said...

An Ordinary Christian~ I love garlic...that festival is worth it! Oh, so is the Almaden Wine Festival...where I grew up after St. Mary's. And yes! I love everything Keith Green did. He is my all time favorite Christian songwriter/singer/pianist...They must be rockin' in heaven!

Kimber said...

WOW - this post brought flashbacks of my own childhood - I am the oldest of 4 (3 girls and one boy-yes, my poor brother!!) I was born in 1968 - so I have vivid visions of 'pig tails' and 'polyester' - my siblings and I playing practical jokes on eachother - me being the oldest and usually the 'one' being grounded - and my Dad - who was usually the 'Good Samaritian' even though we weren't Christians at the time.... My Dad was forever pulling over to help people fix flat tires, get them more gas for their cars - etc. Looking back - I love my Dad for always wanting to help people - then - sometimes it was annoying.....especially in the rain - and since he would make me help out (being the oldest!!!)

Anyway - thanks for sharing your life - you really have a great way of telling your story :)

Alydyn said...

Ding Dong Incident: Great Story. Sorry about your Hostess...My weakness is Little Debbie and her zebra cakes!

M. C. Pearson said...

Kimber~ My dad used to pull off the road but for a different reason. I'll have to post about it...you've reminded me of it. It has to do with Arizona, cacti, tires, and turtles. Intrigued?

Alydyn~ Yes. I still cry over my lost Ding Dong. I still keep my Hostess in the freezer. I feel like a kid raiding the stash when I eat them!

Alydyn said...

Loved the blame game on Margie..: ) I was never able to get away with much as a kid/teen. I was not a troublesome kid for the most part and neither was my brother (too scared of my mom she had this special "Mommy" look that could make you shake!) but man my brother and I could do the exact same thing and he came out smelling like a rose while I was grounded to my room for 6 weeks!!!

M. C. Pearson said...

alydyn~ My mom had the scary mom feet. Whenever we were out of bed and heard her steps coming down the hall we hid for covers. Boom, boom, boom, boom! Ahhhhh!

xXDraGonGirLo6Xx said...

Pretty interesting life clear up to sixth grade's end. You know, you sound so much like me when I was around all those ages. The Ho-Ho thing... that was hilarious by the way, but something I probably would have done to my two cousins I lived with.

The Catholic school thing... yeah, again, something I would do in popping that gum. I'm not a completely bad a$$, but I can be pretty rotten when I feel the need or want to. It's all part of being me. Lol.

As for that picture of the Redwood park, that's awesome. It's beautiful looking there. Oh, and the Trinity thing, sweet, really. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading all this, so I'm off to read the next installment and then the other blogs.